Court Orders Father of Picketed Dead Soldier to Pay Court Costs for Westboro Baptist Church


Albert Snyder, the father whose slain soldier son's (Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder) funeral was targeted by Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church picketers, has been ordered by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to pay court costs for the WBC.

The Court of Appeals threw out Snyder's case last year after a lower court awarded him an $11 million judgment (which was later halved). The U.S. Supreme Court then agreed to take on the case.

The AP reports: "On Friday, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Snyder pay costs associated with the Fred Phelps' appeal…The funeral for Marine Lance Cpl. Snyder in Westminster was among many that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. Westboro pastor Fred Phelps and other members have used the funeral protests to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

One of the signs at Snyder's funeral combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto with a slur against gay men."

Snyder's case will be heard by SCOTUS this fall. A fund for him is set up here.


  1. walter says

    that is total bullshit. This man lost his son in defense of his country and now has to pay court costs for the scum. this court
    does the whole country wrong. Mr.Snyder should totally ignore the court ruling just like the phelps ilk. time for the protest to let this court know how the people feel, federal judges serve for life time to impeach this bunch for judical stupidity

  2. walter says

    and if that kid in the picture a perfect example of inbreeding i don’t know what is. and any money collected should not be paid phelps but used to apeal to scotus. phelps should not get a dime to support his hate speech

  3. Richie says

    Don’t pay a penny – let the court force him to pay… let’s see how that plays out in the press… it’ll never happen

  4. Michael Chapman says

    This is unbelievable. My Father was a Marine for 24 years. If they protested his funeral, I would not have been able to hold my emotions in check. This group should be arrested for violation of the civil rights of the families funerals. They should have to pay enough penalty to put them out of business for ever!!!!!!

  5. patrick nyc says

    The height of outrage. This will not stand, he should take it all the way to the high court.

  6. HA! says

    What in the name of all fresh hell???
    Take it all the way. Is there a fund set up for this man???

  7. says

    Whatever happened to self-defense?

    When judges and hatemongers use “free speech” to hide their hatred and the REAL damage it causes – emotionally, physically, psychologically – and we have NO ONE on our side to defend us – AND the “defenses” we have are pieces of paper instead of a gun to the perpetrator’s head saying “BACK THE FUCK OFF” – I gotta wonder WHAT will it take for us to start thinking in terms of SELF-DEFENSE instead of just feeling helpless and powerless.

  8. Z says

    This is just a regular thing that happens in all court cases. The party that loses has to pay court costs. If the Supreme Court rules in the family’s favor, they won’t have to pay these costs, and Phelps will have to pay all of their costs in addition to the $11 million verdict.

  9. Willig says

    Z, in the US, not true. We do not have a “loser pays” rule here in the US.

    The 4th Cir. is a cess pool of right wing pit vipers. It was used as a breding ground for christianist corporatist judges, but that has been stopped now. Unfortunately many remain on the bench.

  10. anon says

    Actually, there is a losers pay law on the books in the US, it’s just not mandatory (it’s subject to review by the judge for reasonableness). Considering all the nasty things posted on various blogs online, it’s nice to know you can’t be sued so easily for hurt feelings. After all, we don’t want to see blogs shut down for fear of being sued.

  11. jamal49 says

    Talk about adding insult to injury! Since this was a 4th Cir. court ruling, it makes me less than optimistic that the SCOTUS will find in favor of Mr. Snyder and instead go with WBC. The SCOTUS has four rightist extremists and one hole-licking lackey who has been consistently voting with the Gang of Four. I think it’s time to end the “Nice-Nice” we keep showing and start kicking ass. It’s the only thing homophobes are going to understand. Slaps to head and kicks in the ass.

  12. Timmy says

    Why are people spinning this as a right wing decision? Just because you disagree with it?? It was a military family against a bunch of nuts. If anything I think a right wing court might rule for the family.

    Phelps is disgusting but the court got everything right as a matter of constitutional law. They have a right to free speech period. If you don’t like it then go to England or Canada.

    BTW, Snyder and his lawyer brought this on. He made a choice to sue Phelps. It was a bad choice and he lost. Now he has to pay.

  13. Norm D PLume says

    It’s time to burn the fucking Westboro Baptist Church and the family home of Fred Phelps down to the ground. For too long, we’ve allowed them to live. That’s been a huge mistake.

  14. Bill says

    This is outrageous. this is a prime example of how this country is on it’s way down the toilet. The true citizens of this country need to bond together and raise this money so he doesn’t have to pay a dime. we must do it.

  15. Mark says

    NO! Do NOT donate to that fund as it will end up – based on the current decision – in the Phelps hands. And those fuckers can rot in hell before I give them a bucket of piss.

    If you feel compelled to help – send the money to his wife, to his kids, to his mortgage company. Fuck the Phelps.

    Next – I’m about burnt out on this “no hate” bullshit. All these a-holes out there just keep stirring the pot – spewing out their anti-gay this, and anti-gay that. Ya know – where the fuck are my civil rights? My free speech? Where is my VOICE? My VOTE? My FIST?

  16. Jeffrey says

    What is wrong with with country? When these hate mongers are allowed to spit on the graves of the fallen soldiers why do we support them? To hell with freedom of speech! I don’t think that is what it was designed for. I would gladly move to England or Canada…at least they have enough sense to not allow these assholes to enter their country and unleash their hate. I am disgusted to be an American. We have become a nation of politically correct pussies.

  17. deryl says

    God knows justice, this group is in serious trouble. My heart, and those of my family, go out the the family of the fallen soldier. May God’s justice prevail.

  18. TANK says

    I don’t know how this is going to go down with the SCOTUS. In any event, he shouldn’t pay a dime until that decision is made. They don’t want to risk anymore grossly unpopular judgments, though. After their decision which allows corporatized campaigning (letting multinationals determine elections), they really shouldn’t risk this. After that one, though…wellll, obama should have packed the court. The station of the union reprimand was a joke compared to what they did. They are too dangerous and stupid to be left to their own devices.

  19. says

    Mr. Snyder doesn’t apparently have a problem with the WBC disrupting ALL funerals — just military funerals. He also says that any overage will go to a veterans scholarship (although there are plenty of other people needing money to fight the WBC.)

    Meh. I’ll let the military cover his expenses.

  20. anon says

    Actually, in England WBC would fall victim to libel laws fairly easily. However, they would be barred from England under the incitement to hatred laws passed under Blair after the London bombings. In Canada, hate speech is banned, but generally only right-wing hate speech is banned. Apparently they are so wise as to know best what to ban. WBC is very left-wing on many issues. For example, we are all going to Hell because the US is a racist nation. Safe to say, they hate everyone though. In the US, hate speech laws are anathema because courts are sensitive to “chilling effects”, such as lawsuits, that can be used to suppress speech. Speech that can include calling WBC all sorts of nasty names.

  21. walter says

    where is the outrage of all the right wing pundits who were all for these wars. they should be blasting freddie the fuckface and his crew ,or do they just want to start the war and not support the troops. better yet
    where are the american people they should be up in arms over the phelps clan behavior. i served and used to love this country but am starting to really think it is headed in the wrong direction.

  22. Iko says

    I may not agree with what WBC says, but I will defend their right to say it, no matter how abhorrent. Why? Because I’m an antitheist and in order for me to point out just how awful their gods are, I need to have the same legal protections they do.

    I support the court’s decision 100% and knew that would be the outcome. It was well within the bounds of free speech, though far outside any conceivable realm of decency or humanity (which is par for the course for zealots).

  23. rebar says

    This is an outrage! Don’t pay a cent and let them drag this out in court and see how well this plays out in the media. Why isn’t this story being played out in all the national media? Someone should contact Rachel Maddow!

  24. gypsy says

    This is the church that states on their website “thank God for IED’s”… My take is too bad the terrorists dont introduce these backward pigF$$ers to real IED’s.— Westboro baptist church + IED’s = karma.

  25. Mary says

    This type of mean, vindictive behavior is NOT covered under First Amendment Freedom Of Speech rights. Picketing a dead soldier’s funeral is not the same as airing views at a political rally or at a college campus. What they did was disturbing the peace at a religious event. Freedom of speech does not apply in this instance.

  26. Mary says

    This type of mean, vindictive behavior is NOT convered by First Amendment freedom of speech rights. Picketing a soldier’s funeral is not the same as airing views at a political rally or at a college campus. What they did was disturbing the peace at a religious event & not protected by the constitution.

  27. Jerry6 says

    How about US picketing all funerals of WBC church members and their families. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” There are a lot more of us than there ever will be of them.

  28. ThePatriot says

    First of all, how can that kid hold that sign!! He has no idea of the sacrifices that our soldiers make for him to still have the right to petition. Second of all, so you have a problem with homosexuals. If they want to fight for their country they have the right to. Lastly, celebrating the death of US soldiers (which is what the right poster does) in the name of punishment of US government policies is like celebrating bank robberies in the name of punishing business leaders for abusing their wealth. The two just don’t correlate enough.